May 5, 2014, INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey (AFNS) – Comprehensive Airman Fitness is not a new term; however, Air Force Instruction 90-506 was released April 2 and further defines requirements for CAF in an effort to enhance the resilience of individuals, families, and communities.
CAF is described as a holistic approach to develop over-arching Airman fitness and fortitude. When the word “Airman” is referenced it encompasses military, civilian, and family members who all play a role in CAF.
It also explains how the platform is a cultural shift in how to view and maintain fitness in a more comprehensive manner and enables Airmen to hold each other accountable to Air Force core values.
“The term Comprehensive Airman Fitness has been a buzz word for a few years without people fully understanding what the term means,” said Almeda Giles, a 39th Air Base Wing community support coordinator. “I would hope that commanders have been utilizing the CAF program all the while by making sure their Airmen are resilient. The AFI should just provide clarity.”
In order to instill the CAF mindset, the program delivers a unified outline encompassing many education and training efforts, activities, programs and other equities playing a contributory role in sustaining a fit, focused and ready force.
“The military community is a very structured environment, where rules and guidelines are what we live by,” Giles said. “Therefore, producing an AFI to accommodate this much needed program makes it legitimate.”
The instruction provides Airmen and their leadership a guided approach on how often training must take place by utilizing individual resilience skills training. As a whole CAF includes fitness in mental, physical, social and spiritual areas and is not a stand-alone program or specified training class.
Master resilience trainers are available on installations to facilitate the training.
“CAF is the tool kit needed for Airmen to work on their own resilience,” said Master Sgt. Kimberly Guler, the 39th ABW Equal Opportunity director and a wing MRT. “The tools and the how-to can be supplied, but it’s up to each individual to develop their resilience by having a healthy balance of all the CAF domains. It’s the foundation needed to develop what they need.”
Guler also explained that if people don’t focus on each domain, there can be weaknesses in CAF pillars. These weaknesses can then be exploited by certain situations or circumstances.
To help the understanding and implementation of this program each active-duty Airman must complete four hours of IRST. Training for active-duty members will be tracked by unit training monitors; however, commanders will determine when and how the training is conducted and may tailor which course modules are presented based on training and local needs.
“One thing that I want to stress is that at the very core of Comprehensive Airman Fitness is resilience,” Giles said. “We need all Airmen (military, civilian and family members) to be able to bounce back from strenuous situations that happen in their lives. To say that an individual has great coping skills is one thing, but to say that an individual is resilient takes it to an entirely different plateau.”